Farming contour and terrace fields using automated guidance systems with global navigation satellite system (GNSS) receivers requires appropriate geographic features for effective guidance and soil and water conservation. The objective of this paper was to develop methodologies for improving and designing guidance features for operating guidance systems in contour and terrace fields. This study was conducted in the Texas High Plains where contour and terrace farming practices are prevalent in slope fields. Four case studies were used to demonstrate the application of a geographic information system (GIS) in optimizing guidance geographic features, including line smoothing, line extending and connecting, creating swath AB lines, and guide-to-line features. Line smoothing removes sharp angularities and curve oscillations on guidance line features, resulting in smooth and more effective guidance operations. The line extension and connection method creates a more convenient and simple guidance feature by combining multiple AB lines. Guide-to-line features derived from AB lines can eliminate confusions when using a guidance system with multiple AB lines in fields with complicated topographic attributes. A methodology was also developed to create guidance AB lines by processing the elevation data generated by a guidance system with a real-time kinematic (RTK) receiver. Guidance line features created in this study satisfy user requirements for effective guidance operations and soil and water conservation. Integrating the application of GIS spatial analysis capabilities and automated guidance systems can enhance farming operations by improving or creating guidance line features, as well as satisfying soil and water conservation needs. Parameter selection for enhancing or creating guidance line features needs to consider unique field conditions and user requirements for simple, convenient, and effective field operations.
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